France and Portugal both won on Tuesday to secure qualification for next year’s World Cup – but Netherlands will not be present at Russia 2018 after missing out on the play-offs.
Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud scored the goals as a nervy France defeated Belarus 2-1 in Paris to make sure of top spot in Group A.
Sweden finished second in the table despite losing 2-0 to the Netherlands, who needed to score at least seven goals and win by six to secure a top-two spot.
They managed to find the net only twice in Amsterdam, both from Arjen Robben in the first half, meaning they will miss a World Cup for the first time since 2002.
— Equipe de France (@equipedefrance) October 10, 2017
1986 – The Netherlands have failed to qualify for consecutive major tournaments for the first time since 1984 & 1986. Crisis. pic.twitter.com/A00swAxr7R
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) October 10, 2017
Portugal and Switzerland met in Lisbon to decide who would triumph in Group B. Cristiano Ronaldo’s European champions ran out 2-0 winners, meaning they finish on top courtesy of their superior goal difference.
Defeat means the Swiss will have to negotiate a two-legged play-off staged in November to qualify, though they will be seeded when the draw is made in Zurich on October 17.
— #WCQ (@FIFAWorldCup) October 10, 2017
Switzerland will, therefore, avoid coming up against fellow seeds Croatia, Denmark and Italy, with Northern Ireland, Sweden, Republic of Ireland and Greece – who finished second in Group H – the other nations involved.
With Greece winning 4-0 at home to Gilbraltar to move to 19 points, Slovakia are the unfortunate second-placed nation to miss out on a play-off berth.
As well as France and Portugal, Belgium, England, Germany, Iceland, Poland, Serbia and Spain all clinched automatic qualification for the tournament by winning their respective groups.
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